Following the end of the public consultation on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the EU-US free trade negotiations (known as TTIP), the European Environmental Bureau, the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and Transport & Environment call on the European Commission to exclude ISDS from TTIP and to publish all contributions.
The EEB, EPHA and T&E are members of the EU’s TTIP advisory group representing civil society.
The consultation is a key opportunity for the Commission to come forward with a fully transparent process and not allow anonymised or secret submissions.
As explained, the public consultation that closed yesterday at midnight has likely drawn over 100,000 responses from all over Europe, a record number for a public consultation. The primary goal of the consultation was to ask Europeans ‘whether the EU’s proposed approach for TTIP achieves the right balance between protecting investors and safeguarding the EU’s right and ability to regulate in the public interest’.
ISDS clauses allow businesses to bypass national court systems and sue governments directly, in special arbitration panels, over measures that can jeopardise future profits – typically laws designed to protect the public.
T&E, EPHA and EEB have repeatedly stressed their strong opposition to ISDS because it undermines the rule of law, makes citizens pay for corporate risk, and creates a ‘fright to regulate’ – governments not daring to legislate out of fear of litigation.
Jos Dings, T&E’s Director and member of the EU’s TTIP advisory group, commented: “This consultation will show the depth of opposition of EU civil society to ISDS. The Commission must fully disclose all public contributions. Europeans deserve to know what the public thinks about investor protection rules.”
Currently, US investment in the EU is three times greater than with the whole of Asia. 19 out of 28 member states, representing 93% of the EU economy, do not offer ISDS protection to US investors. To date there are nine known claims in EU-US trade relations, all of them led by US investors.
Pieter de Pous, EEB EU Policy Director and member of the EU’s TTIP advisory group, commented: “An increasing number of countries around the world are turning away from ISDS, for good reasons. Now is the time for Europe to follow suit and take ISDS out of TTIP. ”
Emma Woodford, EPHA Interim Secretary General and member of the EU’s TTIP advisory group, concluded: “I am convinced that the voices of thousands of Europeans against ISDS in TTIP will be heard very loudly in this consultation. Negotiators on both sides of the Atlantic should take heed and listen to the people.”
Press Release, July 14th, 2014